In the development of programs or applications, any programming language can be used and there is a sequence of steps that have to be followed (Langer, 2016). The program development life cycle can be described as a conceptual model that is used in information technology (IT) project management to define the stages and the tasks that are involved in each step in order to write and deploy software (Langer, 2016). Each stage in the program development life cycle consists of its own deliverables and process that feed into the next phase. The program development life cycle provides the long-term view of the software as a product from the initial process of planning through implementation and maintenance and the ultimate retirement of the completed software application (Langer, 2016).
Today, the world has become more dependent on technology and software is an important arm of development.
Software is needed in almost every aspect of the business world today and the development of quality software is a precise and highly intelligent process involving various steps. There are a defined set of skills that a developer needs in order to succeed in the if the field of software development but these skills are not enough as a developer needs to understand the process of building quality software (Langer, 2016). The program development life cycle is a process that is to be used by developers for the purposes of turning a great software concept into a finished exceptional product. Today, organizations are striving to build highly quality software products through intricate planning, commonly referred to as the program development life cycle (Langer, 2016).
Standard Program Development Cycle Phases
Step 1: Problem Analysis. This is the initial and the most important stage in the development of a software application. In this stage the requirements of the software are determined (Langer, 2016). The user requirements are also gathered at this stage and also from other stakeholders in the organization. In this stage “use cases” can also be used to illustrate how a user will be able to interact with the program to perform a particular function. In case there is an existing system in place, any deficiencies in the software are then identified through interviews to the users of the system and also by reviewing the metrics collected through application performance tools (Langer, 2016).
Step 2: Program Design. In this stage the system design and software are developed according to the instructions and requirements that are provided in the “requirement specifications” document (Langer, 2016). Both software and hardware needs are established as well as the entire system architecture. Other things that are also considered in this stage are the operating systems to be used, programming language, security and communications.
Step 3: Program Coding. Once all the designs and requirements have been mapped and document, it is finally the time to write the code for the entire system. This is the third stage on the program development life-cycle (Langer, 2016). This is the most critical and also one of the longest stage of the program development life cycle. During this phase, the development tasks are broken down into small tasks so that the entire project can be built in phases. By breaking down the tasks into smaller pieces allows for the time to review and provide feedback in order to make sure that the development of the software application is on the right track (Langer, 2016).
Step 4: Program Testing. After the code has been written and the software compiled, it is tested to see if it meets all the requirements that were defined in the first step. The testing phase is the longest and the most demanding phase of the program development life cycle as it is iterative (Langer, 2016). This phase involves the testing of programs, correcting of logical and syntax errors, quality assurance testing, unit testing as well as integration testing.
Step 5: Program Implementation. This is the final stage in the program development cycle as it involves the release of the newly built software for use (Langer, 2016). This step involves deploying the application in the organization servers or a hosted solution such as the cloud, then followed by training the users and stakeholders on how to use the system. After this is done, the software application is then open to all its users (employees, management, customers and partners). If an old system is in existence, the new system will replace the
Step 6: Program Maintenance. In this phase, the system is actively being used and any real problems that are identified are addressed from time to time as they come up (Langer, 2016). The software application is also evaluated for performance and stability as well as adding enhancement to the software.